Friday, March 23, 2012

The Hungry Child

It was Wednesday morning, and I woke with leftovers still on my plate from the Sunday services. My hands trembled as excitement built about going back to that little country church. I pretended it was like every other morning as I shuffled children around for school but I knew it was different, only eleven hours to go and I'd be walking through those glass doors.

With only ten more hours to go, I sat at my computer to write something, anything...but it wasn't His Will. My hands were full of tremble but my mind couldn't decide on which of the leftovers I was willing to share, so I kept them all to myself, while knowing someone out there was hungry.

I sat on my patio with an apple in my hand. As I began to eat, I reflected on my week thus far. The apple tasted so good and I thought about that child...
Just the day before, I had been teaching a class and a student asked me what day it was. For a moment, I had no idea and as I fumbled for the answer, a child spoke up with confidence and said, "Tuesday". I smiled at the child and realized who he was. I fought back a tear as I remembered a few weeks ago when I sat at the teacher's table during lunch, he had walked past to throw away his empty plate after he'd consumed everything. On his way back to his seat, a teacher stopped him and asked if he was still hungry. His head nodded and without hesitating she stood to her feet and with her hand on his back, she walked him back into the kitchen area and whispered something to one of the staff. He walked out of that kitchen with another plate of food and he sat down with a smile on his face, and he ate. The teacher came back to her own food and simply said, "It's a Friday, I'm not sending him home on a Friday hungry." I knew what that meant. I was in awe at her courage to break a rule to feed a child.

I continued to eat my apple and bask in the warm sun as He poured my own life right into my heart. A tear came to my eye as I thanked Him for showing me. I finished my apple and threw the core into the woods thinking I might get something glorious like an apple tree one day, or maybe it would be a snack for deer walking through. I tried to go back into the house, but I couldn't, He wasn't finished. I sat back down and thought about what my own child had said the day before, "Mama, you didn't pack me enough to eat today. At snack time, I had nothing left and I was hungry...but my friend gave me something to eat."

I tasted the salt pouring from my eyes when I realized my own child had a need. That day, she had been the hungry child and I'm not even sure she had the courage to ask for anything, but she had a friend with leftovers who gave her exactly what she needed anyway. My mind was teetering back and forth between being hungry in the flesh and having that Spiritual hunger. We have kids in our own church, in our school who are Spiritually hungry and as parents we try to feed them what we think they need but sometimes at the end of the day, it isn't enough. They are going to look to their friends and they'll either be fed or they'll do without.

As a Christian, as a Child, I began feeling guilty because I sat there on my patio with leftovers that I had no idea if I'd ever be able to consume. I tried again to go to my computer and write...the only thing I know how to do, but again, words failed me. I told myself as the hours wound down, six hours, five hours then four, when I walked through those doors He'd show me the way. I knew in my heart someone needed something I was holding on to, but on this day I had no idea how I could present it so they'd feel full. I watched the clock wind down and all day, barriers fell in front of me, trying to prevent me from getting there. I fought hard, I felt mentally drained at the end of the day but was so proud that I'd climbed over everything that fell in front of me, and I still had that hunger, that desire to get through those glass doors.

When my child came home sick, I gave her all I thought she needed and I still tried to figure out a way to get through the church doors, and leave the sick child behind. I prayed, my friend prayed and still several more barriers fell in front of me, until I realized, it just wasn't His Will. He's still teaching me something. I sobbed most of the night not sure why He didn't want me there. I felt like a Child left behind.

As my week has progressed, I finally awoke with my answer. I needed to feel disappointment. There is nothing like wanting something, needing something and still hoping for something even when the odds are stacked against you...and being left with that hurt, that disappointment in the end. There are so many of us as adults, as teens, and as Children of God, who walk around with leftovers every single day. There are starving people out there that will die before asking for help. There are needs to be met, even in my own children and it may take a friend to give them that one piece of fruit that satisfies their hunger. Often times, people don't see that they are in need, until someone walks up to them and asks if they are still hungry, only to realize that they are. It was worth the disappointment I felt on Wednesday night as a hungry Child, when I was unable to go back and get more before I had distributed my leftovers from Sunday. But I feel full now knowing that I will try my best to distribute everything I have. The thought of someone looking forward to something, anything and finding nothing more than disappointment is a large burden on my shoulders...

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